electricity and magnetism - 18 titles

Author:  Heinrich Rudolf Hertz (1857-1894)
Title/Imprint: Ueber Sehr Schnelle Electrische Schwingungen
Metzger & Wittig: Leipzig , 1887

With this paper, Hertz produced electromagnetic waves and demonstrated that light and heat are forms of electromagnetic radiation. Extracted from Annalen der Physik, vol. 31.


Author:  Joseph Henry (1797-1878)
Title/Imprint: On the Influence of a Spiral Conductor in Increasing the Intensity of Electricity from a Galvanic Arrangement of a Single Pair
London , 1837

Henry was working on electromagnetic induction at the same time as Faraday and was the first to actually observe electric self-induction, but Faraday was the first to publish in 1831 and therefore received credit. Henry went on to become one of the leading American scientists and the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. This article was extracted from Richard Taylor's Scientific Memoirs.


Author:  Robert Boyle (1627-1691)
Title/Imprint: Experiments, Notes, &c., About the Mechanical Origine or Production of Divers Particular Qualities
E. Flesher for R. Davis: London , 1675

The Herald of Science is only one of eleven separate tracts printed in this volume. It is considered to be the first book on electricity in English and electricity is not affected by the vacuum in an air-pump jar. This copy contains extensive manuscript notes by Robert Hooke (Boyle's assistant) who was presented this copy by Henry Oldenburg.


Author:  Pierre de Maricourt (13th cent.)
Title/Imprint: De Magnete, seu, Rota Perpetui Motus
Augsburg , 1558

Pierre, also known as Petrus Peregrinus, wrote this 13th-century account discussing the natural magnet, how a compass is constructed, and how it used in navigation. Only some twenty copies of this book are know to exist.


Author:  Robert Norman (fl. 1590)
Title/Imprint: The new attractive containing a short discourse of the magnes or loadstone
E. Allde for Hugh Astley: London , 1596

First printed in 1581, this work describes Norman's discovery of magnetic dip or declination. This particular copy was once owned by Silvanus P. Thompson and is missing its title page (supplied in facsimile).


Author:  Hans Christian Ørsted (1777-1851)
Title/Imprint: Experimenta Circa Effectum Conflictus Electrici in Acum Magneticam
Schultzianis: Copenhagen , 1820

This is one of three known copies of this work in America. In it, Ørsted discovered that electric current in a wire caused a deflection in a magnetized needle, a phenomenon which was rapidly recognized and inspired the development of electromagnetic theory.


Author:  André-Marie Ampère (1775-1836)
Title/Imprint: Mémoires sur l'action mutelle de deux courans électriques
Paris , 1822

Within a week of Ørsted's discovery of the elctric effects on a magnetic needle, Ampère prepared this paper that fully described the effects of electromagnetism. This copy was extracted from the Annales de Chimie et de Physique.


Author:  Georg Simon Ohm (1789-1854)
Title/Imprint: Die Galvanische Kette Mathematisch Bearbeitet
T.H. Riemann: Berlin , 1827

This is the first publication of Ohm's law, that is, the discovery that the current in an electric circuit is directly proportional to the voltage across the circuit. Ohm's work was ridiculed at first and only received the proper attention later in his life.


Author:  United States. Dept. of the Treasury
Title/Imprint: Telegraphs for the United States, Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury Transmitting a Report upon the Subject of a System of Telegraphs for the United States
Thomas Allen: Washington, DC , 1837

This publication documents the first attempt by Samuel F. B. Morse to interest Congress in establishing an electric telegraph line in the United States. He finally succeeded in getting the funding which allowed him to construct a line from Washington, DC to Baltimore and send the first message on May 24, 1844.


Author:  James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)
Title/Imprint: A A
pp.459-512; The Society: London , 1865

Maxwell published this, his first classic paper on the elctromagnetic field in 1865. He developed the concept of electromagnetic radiation and demonstrated the phenomena of such radiation in a detailed mathematical form. Extracted from: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, vol.155.


Author:  Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922)
Title/Imprint: Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, vol.12
pp.1-10; , 1876

Bell was interested in the physiology of speech and became interested in the electrical communication of sound. Encouraged by Joseph Henry, Bell published this article and provided a public demonstration of his new telephone at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876.


Author:  Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937)
Title/Imprint: Improvements in Apparatus Employed in Wireless Telegraphy
Malcomson & Co.: Redhill , 1899

Marconi began experimenting with electric wireless communication in 1894 and achieved modest success. This led to his being financially backed and this patent marked his first success at greatly improving the distances of what later became known as radio communication.


Author:  Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855)
Title/Imprint: Resultate aus den Beobachtungen des Magnetischen Vereins im Jahre 1836-1837
Dieterichschen Buchhandlung: Gottingen , 1837-38

This work is the result of the first worldwide survey of the Earth's magnetic field. Part of the achievement of this research was the construction of the first electric telegraph line.


Author:  Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)
Title/Imprint: Collection of U.S. Patents Granted to Thomas Alva Edison, 1869-1884
2 vols.; , 1880

This patent for the electric lamp was just one of over a thousand produced from the laboratory of Edison. Financed by a wealthy syndicate in 1878, it took less than two years for edison and Francis Upton to develop a working carbon-filament lamp.


Author:  Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Title/Imprint: Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Made at Philadelphia in America
E. Cave: London , 1751

Franklin began his experiments on electricity in the 1740s and communicated his results to correspondents in Great Britain. In 1751, these various letters were compiled into this book. The letters described Franklin's work on lighting strikes and lightning rods, and also discussed his positive & negative theory of electrical fluid.


Author:  C. A. (Charles Augustin) Coulomb (1736-1806)
Title/Imprint: Mémoires sur l'électricité et la magnétisme
Bachelier: Paris , 1789?

This work describes Coulomb's discovery of the law of electrical attraction. Using his new torsion balance, he determined that electrical attraction and repulsion follow an inverse-square law, as did gravity. "Extraits des mémoires de l'Académie Royale des Sciences de Paris, publiés dans le années 1785 à 1789, avec planches at tableaux."


Author:  Otto von Guericke (1602-1686)
Title/Imprint: Experimenta Nova (ut Vocantur) Magdeburgica de Vacuo Spatio
J. Janssonium: Amsterdam , 1672

This work (which appears twice in this list) is critical because of its description of the first electric rotary generator. Guericke invented this device that produced static electricity by generating friction against a moving ball of sulfur. This copy was once owned by the noted book collector, Herbert McLean Evans. Also included in the Electricity & Magnetism Section, this work describes Guericke's famous 1654 experiment of the "Spheres of Magdedburg." In this experiment he dedemonstrated how two teams of horses could not pull apart two copper hemispheres that had the air evacuated from their interior and were only held together by air pressure.

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Author:  Michael Faraday (1791-1867)
Title/Imprint: Experimental Researches in Electricity
Richard and John Edward Taylor: London , 1839

Ever since Ørsted's discovery in 1820, scientists were trying to find the opposite effect, where magnetism would generate electricity. Finally, in 1831, Faraday achieved success by generating an electric current from electromagnetic induction. This discovery was the first of many of his electrical papers reprinted in this classic three-volume set.